Riccardo Chiarion impresses with his solo jazz guitar record Quiet Stories, breathing life into rolling improvisations, melodies and structures.
There’s no doubting Italian Jazz artist Riccardo Chiarion and his skill when it comes to guitar. What new record Quiet Stories does well, however, is to build on this skill by bringing heart and soul into the compositions. Yes, the improvisations and musical knowledge are important, but just as much so is the warmth and tenderness that can be heard throughout.
From the moment the first track, Delicato, kicks in, you can tell this is a special musician. Each note and tone stands out on its own merit as Chiarion skillfully constructs jazz improvisations and structures through his guitar that feel alive and tell their own story. One minute it’s a fast-paced technical masterclass, the next he’s happy to let the sounds gently wonder as if unattached from any human interpretation, forming their own legs and walking freely. The track ends with a bit of showboating leaving you in awe of this man’s talent.
Green continues to show skill in a slower and more emotional track that is one of the more melodic pieces on the record. At times it almost feels like there’s more than one person in the setup as Chiaron creates these fascinating instances that almost feel chaotic in their duality before all coming together at the track’s conclusion. Your Lives tries to bring something different to the table with an almost lounge music beginning that’s gently built upon, but perhaps on this rare occasion, could do with a few more ideas nearer the end to bring it out of its shell.
As the record continues it feels as though Chiarion slowly settles into his groove, content to let the music wander more where it pleases and not relying so much on the extreme technical abilities of earlier on. Meetings is a beautiful, meandering piece that feels like you’re floating down a river on a gentle current. Fields and Sky again takes its time in the setup, building in impressive solo work as the artist flits between improvisations before moving into a nice, warm finish that gently fades away. The record ends on Silence, one of the most atmospheric tracks on the record. Chiarion once again uses that skill which makes it sound like more than one person is playing as high notes solo freely amongst low notes providing the bass and a steady, sauntering pace.
Quiet Stories is an impressive mix of jazz guitar, strong solo work and a solid bass that provided Chiarion with a canvas to show us his talents. The compositions showcase the artist’s supreme skill on guitar making the improvisations seem easy and a delight to listen to as they move in whichever direction they please. It would be interesting to hear this record with a full band or even just drums to see what would be produced, but on the other hand, it could get convoluted with other influences brought into the fray. A fine record for any lovers of jazz guitar.